Greens in France, Great Britain, and other EU countries are out of power. They can bash the government for their reliance on fossil fuels to their hearts’ content because they don’t have to put any political capital where their mouths are.
Except in Germany. The Greens are members of Chancellor Olaf Schulz’s left-wing coalition and are now dealing with the uncomfortable realities of power. And one of those realities is that since Russia invaded Ukraine, German supplies of natural gas have largely been held hostage by Russian president Vladimir Putin, whose pipelines supply Germany with 27% of Germany’s overall energy mix. Before the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, just over half (55%) of gas consumed in Germany was imported from Russia.
Since then, Putin has played footsie with Europe by shutting down the Nord Stream pipelines for “maintenance” twice — the second time ten days ago. And now, Putin has shut the natural gas pipeline down “indefinitely,” forcing Germany and much of Europe into hard choices.
Now the Greens are having to make a great energy leap. As members of the German government they are staring close up at the realities of soaring energy prices. They are having to face the prospect of the lights going off this winter, and of public buildings in major cities such as Hamburg already trying to ration the amount of electricity they use. The Greens’ demand that everybody else join them in a fantastical leap has now reversed into the Greens recognizing that their society simply is not ready.
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